HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros pulled within one in the fifth inning, and that was as close as it would get.
Their lineup just stalled.
Brett Wallace homered, but the Astros failed to get a hit against three Seattle relievers and lost 3-2 to the Mariners on Thursday night.
“Their bullpen did a good job,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “We had some opportunities, and we didn’t do a good job of situational hitting.”
Nick Franklin put Seattle on top with a one-out solo homer off Jordan Lyles (6-7) in the first inning. Franklin Gutierrez added a two-run shot in the fourth, helping the Mariners stop a six-game slide.
Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (5-1) tied a season high with seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs and five hits.
Yoervis Medina struck out three in 1 1-3 perfect innings before Danny Farquhar threw a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.
Jason Castro had an RBI double in the fourth and Wallace connected in the fifth, but that was it for Houston, which has dropped three in a row.
Lyles allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two in six innings.
“The stuff wasn’t there throughout the game,” Lyles said. “They put some really good swings on some pitches. My ball wasn’t getting that downward action like I am used to, and a good offensive team will make you pay.”
Raul Ibanez reached on a leadoff single in the fourth and Gutierrez went deep with one out, hitting a drive to left to push Seattle’s lead to 3-0. The oft-injured outfielder has seven homers in just 73 at-bats this season.
Ramirez sailed through the first three innings, including striking out the side in the third. L.J. Hoes got Houston’s first hit with a single to start the fourth before Castro’s one-out double sent him home.
Wallace opened Houston’s fifth with a drive to right-center that cut Seattle’s lead to 3-2. Ramirez shaken up a bit with two outs in that inning when he took a comebacker to his foot on a single by Robbie Grossman. He was checked out by trainers and threw a few warmup pitches before retiring Hoes to end the inning.
Jose Altuve doubled with no outs in the sixth inning and Ramirez left after he issued a walk to Chris Carter. Charlie Furbush then retired Wallace to end the inning.
“We had a few opportunities to get some runs there,” Wallace said. “In those situations, you have to do everything you can to try to get the guys in. They made some good pitches when they had to. A couple opportunities that we left out there and those are the ones that you can’t give away.”
Lyles retired eight of the last nine batters he faced after the homer by Gutierrez, with the only baserunner coming when Justin Smoak reached on an error by right fielder Hoes with two outs in the sixth.
Medina threw a perfect eighth inning, including striking out the last two batters. He ended the inning when he caught Castro looking with an 85 mph curveball. Castro threw his bat in disgust after the call.
Lyles last started on Friday, but got the last out of Houston’s win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday for his first career save.
Kevin Chapman followed Lyles with 2 1-3 scoreless innings. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his first 12 major league appearances, which ties a franchise record.
“What he’s shown is that he’s going to attack when he comes into the game,” Porter said. “He does just a great job of just mixing and matching. He throws his secondary pitches for strikes, and he’s not afraid to throw his slider and his breaking stuff when he’s behind in the count.”
Grossman robbed Dustin Ackley of a hit with a nifty leaping catch to end the fourth inning. The left fielder was running and jumped high in the air to snag the hard-hit fly ball.
NOTES: The series continues Friday when Seattle’s top prospect, Taijuan Walker, makes his major league debut against Brad Peacock. The 21-year-old Walker went 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last two starts in Triple-A. … Porter said catchers Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi, both on the seven-day concussion list, are making progress.
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